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That Hat I Kept, and Never Wore Again
by Linda Baie

Then,
wedding rules required choosing a going away outfit.
Whatever the world thought,
I chose what I wanted: a sea-green suit,
and a wicked white mink hat, like Jackie O.
(Years passed before I discovered fur protests.)
There was nothing 
more to do after the cake,
but duck and smile, and toss the bouquet.
With the love of my life walking with me
and family throwing rice wishes
and a just married decorated car,
we escaped to a two-night honeymoon,
a high-rise hotel,
and a view we never saw.
That white hat now reminds me of icing on the cake,
the sweet days we ate for almost fifty years.
Whatever it
 stored in our hearts, we used.
Now it’s kept in a closet, top shelf,
a lonely mink hat.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Leaving the church in a burst of cheers and rice throwing!  (Blue Ridge Methodist Church, Raytown, Missouri, 1965).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I saw the prompt to write about a hat, I knew the one I would write about. It was the hat I chose for what was called the “going away” outfit after the wedding. I researched this tradition and learned that few do this anymore. Today, most brides leave in their wedding dresses. The hat has been kept and moved for many years, never worn, occasionally taken out and shared with a friend or family member.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Linda Baie recently retired after 25 years teaching gifted students, finally as a literacy coach at an independent school in Denver, Colorado. She writes for her blog, TeacherDance that includes poetry, essays, and book reviews.